8 Bit Music: Melodic Nintendo


Classic video game soundtracks are some of the most iconic sounds of our culture. You’ll be hard pressed to find a person who can’t correctly identify the Mario Brothers theme song.  The pings and pangs of vintage video game music bring out a sense of extreme nostalgia for people who spent their sprouting Saturday mornings kneeling in front of the television trying to hop over that turtle and save the princess. Following in the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) style of music, Chiptune emerged as a genre of music in the early 2000’s. Composers had been getting music down to the 8bit level since the 80’s to fit it into the limited technology of the computers at the time. Today however, chiptune is used not for memory conservation, but for musical exploration.



Many artists produce 8bit music. The most well known example is probably the intro to “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites” by Skrillex. The tones and sounds of 8bit can be warped into many different forms. YouTube search for 8bit covers will yield a vast variety of Nintendo-y sounding versions of pop songs. The film Scott Pilgrim vs. The World focuses on video games, and relies on an 8bit soundtrack reminiscent of the days of the NES.

What should this genre be categorized as? Obviously just calling it 8bit or chiptune works, but there must be something better. I choose Melodic Nintendo.